What you need to know about the new version of Office

5 of our favourite Microsoft 2016 features for SMEs


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Microsoft SA this week hosted a media event to introduce Office 2016, the latest addition to its subscription-based service, Office 365

The Office 2016 apps are the latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service. 

Primarily focused on helping users collaborate effectively and work more efficiently across all devises, the new version of Office, according to Microsoft, reimagines the traditional Office experience for a mobile-first, cloud-first world.  

This version of Office is the first one that is designed and built specifically for mobile and cloud.

Speaking at the launch, Uriel Rootshtain, Application Services Group Lead at Microsoft SA said the latest developments will go some ways in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps, to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.

With the growth of startups in South Africa as well as the global advancements in tech, trends such as social, mobile, analytics, and cloud have dramatically reshaped the operating environment for organisations, the business-consumer ecosystem, the way in which people work and how they maximise their downtime, says Rootshtain.

Our favourite features

While there were many notable features, the more significant was the suite’s recognition that "work requires mobility of the human experience, not the device," Rootshtain says.

"Your work and data has to be accessible from any device, anytime, and from anywhere," he says.

Here are 5 useful features for SMEs and startups. 

1. Co-authoring

Key among the new features is real-time co-authoring in Word and PowerPoint. This feature allows different users to work on the same document at the same time. In Word, users are also able to see edits being made in real-time by their colleagues regardless of the type of device they are using.

2. One-Click Forecasting

A resource that startups and small businesses may find useful is the One-Click Forecasting. Included in Excel 2016, the one-click forecasting tool looks at historical data to predict future trends. The forecasting uses industry standard Exponential Smoothing (ETS) algorithm to offer accurate data.

3. Mail Triage

Another feature in Office 2016 that aims to make work processes more efficient is Microsoft's Clutter feature in Outlook. Targeting the notorious time-stealer, the Clutter feature analyses how you use your email, observing patterns such as the people you interact with the most, and using these metrics, it prioritises your emails and tucks low priority emails into a separate folder. The feature also provides you with a daily summary.

4. Resource Scheduling

Available in Project Professional 2016 or Project Pro for Office 365, Resource Scheduling allows entrepreneurs and professionals more control on how resources are being used in their businesses.

5. Office Sway

For businesses and individuals who do a lot of presentations and blogging, Microsoft has added Sway to the Office suite that will allow users to make multimedia presentations. Pre-sets and themes and its integrated internet connectivity are designed to make quick rich-media presentations.

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